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UPDATED: UPSIDE Foods Receives First-Ever USDA Label Approval for Cultivated Meat

Update: We have been contacted by Eat Just which states its cultivated meat subsidiary GOOD Meat was in fact the first to receive USDA label approval, on June 8th (UPSIDE received approval June 12th) though was not intending to publicise the move until its GoI. We will report further on the situation.

UPSIDE Foods announces it has become the first company in the world to receive USDA label approval for cultivated meat, specifically for its cultivated chicken

“We’re excited to continue working with the USDA to achieve our next milestone”

The USDA, which regulates label approvals for meat, poultry, and egg products, officially approved the term “cell-cultivated chicken” for Upside Foods’ novel product on Monday, the 12th of June.

UPSIDE Foods’ chicken, a cultivated meat product grown directly from animal cells, is subject to the exact labeling requirements as conventionally-produced meat. The approval shows that the product complies with the governing agency’s pre-market labeling requirements.

A burger with a cultivated ground meat patty
Image courtesy of UPSIDE Foods

A major step forward

“The USDA’s approval of our label marks a major step forward towards our goal of creating a more humane and sustainable food system,” said Dr. Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of UPSIDE Foods. 

This significant achievement is a crucial step in the company’s journey to commercialization. Now UPSIDE’s chicken will bear the USDA mark of inspection on its packaging after it passes USDA inspection. 

Last April, the company revealed a new consumer product line, including chicken sausages, chicken sandwiches, and dumplings made with cultivated ground chicken, herbs, and plant-based proteins. These products will launch after the debut of the company’s cell-cultivated chicken.

UPSIDE Foods banner
Image credit: UPSIDE Foods LinkedIn

First launch in the US

This milestone follows UPSIDE’s historic US FDA green light in 2022, which marked the first time a company received a No Questions letter for cultivated meat, poultry, or seafood.

UPSIDE Foods explained that it is working with the USDA to obtain a Grant of Inspection for its production facility (EPIC) — the last step in the pre-market regulatory process. Receiving the GOI would confirm that the plant meets federal operating requirements for meat & poultry facilities.

After receiving the GOI, UPSIDE could become the first company to sell cultivated meat in the US. The company has announced plans to launch a cell-cultivated chicken product in restaurants, starting with Bar Crenn in San Francisco.

“We’re excited to continue working with the USDA to achieve our next milestone: a Grant of Inspection (GOI) for our facility. Obtaining the USDA’s GOI will clear the way for commercial production and sales and allow us to bring our delicious UPSIDE chicken to consumers for the first time,” Valeti added.

>> Click here to go to Cultivated X where you will see a familiar layout and a focus solely on content regarding cellular agriculture, including fermentation-enabled products, and with more granular categories.

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